A Year in Review

This was a year of change for us. Hard, painful, exciting, beautiful growth. Four seasons have passed, three children have grown and a year’s worth of life was lived. This little corner of the web has been a bit of a refuge for me. Scrolling through old posts last night I realized it got a little depressing around here for a time. As we processed the move, I found myself stuck in the contemplative ponderings of change. And so many of you stuck it out as I processed.

Thank you.

I know I’ve already said that, but I need to say it again. I don’t like to get too serious around here. I don’t know why – I guess my ultimate hope is to make you all smile. Life is fun and there is so much joy to be had.

But sometimes life is also hard. Winter settles in and you have to search a bit more for the beauty in the frosty darkness.  A dear friend told me during this more difficult time of transition that she could always tell when things weren’t quite right. “Your writing takes a completely different tone,” said said. “It’s still beautiful, but I just know that your heart is aching a bit more than usual.”

But inevitably winter must thaw and joy breaks through once more. We’re walking toward spring and it’s balmy and sweet. And funny.

So without further ado, I give you 2011 in review:

In January, I laughed until I cried and I beseeched my male readership to please, for the love of all things holy explain to me the obssession with Star Trek. (Best I could tell, Star Trek is to men what Twilight is to women…)

In Feburary, I threw one heck of a pink princess party and lived to tell the tale.

In March I gave you the first sneak peek into my novel (which I will finish in 2012 – hold me to that, internets!).  Oh, and my dorky husband and I made a movie about how hot minivans actually are.

In April my first grader and I debated Creationism and the Big Bang theory. Later Tia and I discussed whether or not she would be able to do handstands in heaven while Landon swore up one side and down the other he saw a kangaroo on the side of the road. My kids are so delightfully weird.

In May I did NOT feel bad about Bin Laden’s death, and I mercilessly mocked my husband’s shoulder shaking dance moves. Oh yeah…and I lost my cool pants. Or maybe I never had them?

In June I gave you all a cavity with the sweetest pictures of childhood ever published.  I also traveled to Montreal and spent the day on a movie set where I interviewed Christine Baransky, died laughing at my husband’s reasoning for why the kids should not touch a bird’s nest and I dug down deep and got more personal than I’ve ever done before.

In July Jennifer Aniston did my hair, we announced our impending move to Florida and my posts got a bit contemplative.

In August people disrespected my smokin’ hot minivan and it was suggested I add ghost flames down the side. I also announced our intention to homeschool and I went to Hollywood and took a million pictures of myself at a movie premiere.

In September I explained why I would not be raising a bimbo of a daughter, then we all rejoiced as she made the most beautiful decision. We also found ourselves finally settling into a home after three months of living like nomads.

In October we worked with our son on toughening up and learning to play with the big boys. Then I humbled myself and admitted to my tendency toward acting like a true blonde.

In November I cried a freakin’ river for a second time, then my daughter and I were scarred for life when we walked in on a man in an airplane bathroom with his pants around his ankles. And I officially coined the phrase “Air Butt.” I also wrote this post, which is another one of my favorites.

Which brings us to December. I found out my eyes have betrayed me this month, I contemplated the value of a man when Albert Pujols left the Cardinals for the Angels, I admitted my aversion to Math (maybe I’m allergic to numbers…) and I died my hair pink.

It’s been quite a year and I couldn’t be more excited to head into 2012. I have big dreams, several goals and a lot of confidence. I think it’s the hair that’s given me a little boost. I hope you’ll join me as we jump into the new year. Perhaps we could all take a lesson from my youngest and leap with reckless abandon and unabashed joy.

Who’s with me? What are you looking forward to and hoping to accomplish this year?

The value of a man

Earlier today, Albert Pujols signed a massive deal that took him out of the Cardinals uniform and put him into an Angels uniform….and all hell broke loose.  I heard the wailing all the way down here.  Mournful weeping.

Gnashing of teeth.

As I heard the details, I was struck by only one thing: how has the value of one man become so displaced?

This is not a question of Albert Pujol’s character.  While I do not know him personally, I know several people who do and I know that he is the real deal.  He gives more than he takes, he isn’t looking for attention and he constantly deflects praise.  If I had to pick someone who I felt could handle the responsibility of $250 million dollars, I would choose Albert Pujols.

“He’s greedy!”

“So I guess it is all about the money!”


“Don’t let the door hit ya where the good Lord split ya!”

All of these sentiments popped up online as everyone lashed out at the surprise last minute deal.  And I get it…sort of.  Pujols is a hometown hero.  Not only is the he face of baseball, but he’s an amazing person and who wouldn’t want to keep him around?  I understand the disappointment, but let’s keep perspective.

He is just one man.

The truth is, none of us know everything that went into Albert’s decision to move his family across country.  Was it the money?  Well, probably to a degree it was.  How many of us would have turned down $34 million for loyalty’s sake?  At the end of the day I don’t believe this was greed so much as business.  Can it be argued that there comes a point where enough is enough?  Sure.  But it can also be argued that a lot of good could be done with $34 million and to simply walk away out of principle is kind of foolish.

In other words, Pujols was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t.

To claim that it was solely the money that brought him to this decision simplifies things far too much.  As my super smart (and freakishly handsome) husband explained to me, Albert Pujols is thinking about his career as a whole.  Where can he establish himself that gives him the best opportunity to finish out his years as a baseball player?

St. Louis wasn’t the place.  And that is okay.

So I do not begrudge Albert Pujols.  And I fully trust that he will give away more money than most of us will ever know or comprehend.  This bigger deal gives him the opportunity to give above and beyond what he is already doing.  If I’m being totally honest, I’d tell you that I’d rather see $250 million in the hands of Albert Pujols than in the hands of the US Government.


Honestly, my initial and gut reation to the news today was not anger toward Pujols but rather toward our society as a whole.  I felt a heap of righteous indignation at the thought that we as a nation have placed such an enormous value upon a man who swings a stick and hits a ball.  I do not say that disrespectfully by any means.  I hope I’ve established that I have nothing but respect for Albert Pujols.  But the fact remains, he’s just a guy with a bat.

Why is the value of a baseball player so high, yet the value of a teacher so low?  Is it a wonder our school system is failing, our economy tanking?  Does it not seem that the value we as a society have placed upon man is only slightly off kilter?

This is not Albert’s fault.  This has nothing to do with him and everything to do with a society that has drastically lost perspective on the value of influence.  Or does it?

Is one man worth $250 million dollars? Well, though my first response is a resounding HECK NO, the truth is that’s not really for me to judge or decide.  I really believe that God Himself ordains some to be stewards of much and for others to be stewards of little (Matthew 25).  It’s not for me to decide how much a man is worth, but rather to be responsible with that which I’ve been given.  This is where my criticism for the amount Pujols has been promised gets shattered into a thousand tiny pieces and my writing starts to sounds schizophrenic so I find myself simply needing to wrap things up.

I’m happy for Albert Pujols.  Truly and completely, I am happy that a man of his character has found favor in such a way.  And for my part, I will continue to cheer him on, not because I value what he does on the field, but rather what he does off of it.

I am, however, still a bit shocked at the priorities of our nation and the value we place on those who entertain.  I am afraid I feel both emotions equally, though they are a bit conflicting.

Your thoughts?

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